Our HIV education team is currently holding a conference out in Bong County, Liberia. The team was taking the two hour outdoorish train ride (which is very amazing, I hear) through Liberia and staying overnight. I had almost volunteered to help, but didn't want to over extend myself and decided to stay on the ship instead.
On Tuesday night I was sitting in the cafeteria at a going away party for a friend when the receptionist's voice came on over the ship PA system,
"Would the emergency medical team please come to hope ward. Would the emergency medical team please come to hope ward."
I joined the furry of medical professionals who dislodged themselves from their rooms and beds and assembled in Hope ward. A baby had stopped breathing.
I helped move the other patients out of the room where the baby was being worked on and helped some other nurses set up the ICU. The baby was intubated and I have taken care of her for the past two days.
Yesterday was my first time ever working in our ICU. I did not know where anything was and was unfamiliar with our ventilator. It has been over three months since I have cared for an intubated patient and we have no pediatrician's or respiratory therapists on board. I was a little nervous.
At home in the PICU we have lot's of people and resources. But I am currently only one of four pediatric ICU nurses on board.
When I came on, I had to make my own wrist restraints and figure out where everything was. i had stopped by and had the vent explained to me earlier in the day but it was still slightly nerve racking to use.
I was suppose to be off today, but I was asked to come in. The plan had been to extubate the baby but we ended up taking her to CT scan instead. Myself, another nurse and two anesthetists went on an ICU road trip, not something I had planned on doing in Africa.
It went rather smoothly. We had to wheel the stretcher through the OR to reach the scanner and once we were there your could only pass a body on one side of the machine. A reminder that we work on a hospital ship where there is limited space.
At the end of the day, it felt kind of nice to care for an ICU patient. By the end of my shift I felt very comfortable and confident. It was a good skill refresher.
Not quite what I had planned to do on my day off, and I definitely did not get paid overtime, but I was grateful for my PICU days seeing they enabled me to care for our patient.
I think it was good that I did not go to the HIV conference.